Half-Dozen: Matt Sheppard Drives from 12th to Win Utica-Rome Friday Feature

Written by Chris Moore

VERNON, NY – For the sixth time this season, Matt Sheppard rose above the rest to take the 3 Bastards Brewing Modified victory at Utica-Rome Speedway.

The win came on Pozzie’s Auto Refinishing and Westmoreland Golf Club night at the speedway, the latter of which being a primary sponsor on Sheppard’s car.

“It’s great to win on Westmoreland Golf Club night and have all of them here,” stated Sheppard. “They’re a big supporter of ours and there’s always a little extra pressure on your sponsors night.”

Sheppard, a Savannah, N.Y. native, started from the 12th starting position after winning his heat race, and appeared to be mired back where he started in the early going.

By the completion of lap five, Sheppard was still running in the 10th spot.

“There was just a lot of traffic back there and I honestly didn’t feel that great about our racecar,” Sheppard explained of his early struggles.

Sheppard made a change on the sixth circuit, moving to the outside of the progressively banked half-mile oval.

“It seemed like everybody else kind of struggled on the top and luckily for me, my car felt really good up there,” Sheppard said of the change that won him the race.

The move saw Sheppard climb to sixth in the next three laps, before a yellow came out resetting the field.

With Sheppard chasing, it was York, N.Y.’s Justin Wright continuing his strong recent form that was setting the pace at the lap eight yellow, after muscling the lead away from Norwich, N.Y.’s Alan Barker.

Wright chose the outside groove on the restart, which worked into the hands of Sheppard when the green flag flew.

Sheppard grabbed three positions on the first lap of green flag action and setting his sights on Wright and Barker, who were slugging it out for the top spot.

With the lead duo in a heavyweight bout, Sheppard closed quickly and took the runner-up spot from Barker on lap 12. One lap later Sheppard took a lead he would never relinquish.

Vernon, N.Y.’s Willy Decker spent all of the race in the top five, and ultimately charged forward late to grab the runner-up spot in the JSD Express No. 1x. Unadilla, N.Y.’s Billy Decker slowly picked his way through the field to take fourth in the Jeremy Smith Racing No. 91.

Justin Wright fell to fourth in the late stages of the race and Sheffield, Mass. star Andy Bachetti outgunned Alex Yankowski to round out the top five.

Finishing sixth through tenth, respectively, were Yankowski, of Covington Township, Pa.; Alan Barker, who fell to seventh; Genoa, N.Y.’s Pat Ward in the Beyea Custom Headers No. 42p; Schnecksville, Pa.’s Tanner VanDoren in the Charlie Lord owned No. 01c; and Roscoe, N.Y.’s Michael Trautschold in his self-owned No. 28.

The CRSA Sprint Cars returned to the ‘Home of Heroes’ on Friday night and Jordan Hutton took home the victory in the 20-lap main event.

Hutton, who admitted he normally struggles at Utica-Rome, unloaded fast and never lost the speed, racing away to the victory.

“We normally aren’t very good here, but I love a track you can rip around the top and that’s what this place was tonight,” Hutton continued. “It was a lot of fun. This place was awesome.”

Billy Van Inwegen came home second and Cory Sparks rounded out the podium finishers.

Dillon Paddock and Tomy Moreau rounded out the top five.

Durhamville, N.Y.’s Matt Janczuk grabbed his fifth Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman win of the season, working from the 12th starting spot to grab the lead on lap six and never looked back.

Despite two late race restarts, Janczuk proved to be the class of the field.

Payton Talbot came home second and Seth Martin got his best career finish of third.  Ed Lukas and David Dickey rounded out the top five.

Bret Belden emerged victorious from an epic three-car battle to win the Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks feature.

Belden outgunned the two most recent winners, Josh Coonradt and A.J. Walters to take home the victory.

Jason Morrison finished fourth and Jim Normoyle, who was a part of the battle for the lead for several laps, rounded out the top five.

New Berlin, N.Y.’s Zack Welch notched his second consecutive Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman victory.

In a caution filled race, Welch outdueled Dalton Doyle and Connor Prokop to take home the win.

Doyle would settle for second with E.J. Gallup, Eric Jensen, and Jonathan Feagles rounding out the top five.

Prokop would retire late in the race with a mechanical failure.

Rudy King Jr. (DOHC) took home the Fonda Fair Four Cylinders victory in a wire-to-wire performance while Wanye Russell Jr. (SOHC) topped the single cam portion of the race.

Racing returns next Thursday night, July 20, as Broedel Energy and Recovery Sports Grill present the ‘Richie Evans Remembered 61.’  The Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco comes into town for a 61-lap, $6,100 to win main event for the STSS big-block/small-block Modifieds. The STSS Crate 602 Sportsman are also in action for 25-laps and a $2,061 top prize. The Senior Services Inc. All-Star Slingshots and Junior Slingshots will also be in action on the inner oval.

Utica-Rome Speedway is located at 5591 NY-5 (Seneca Turnpike) Vernon, NY 13476. The official website is www.uticaromespeedway.com and the speedway can be reached by phone at 315.953.4097.  Like Utica-Rome Speedway on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @UR_Speedway.


3 Bastards Brewing Modified Feature Finish (30 laps): MATT SHEPPARD, Willy Decker, Billy Decker, Justin Wright, Andy Bachetti, Alex Yankowski, Alan Barker, Pat Ward, Tanner Van Doren, Michael Trautschold, Jeremy Slosek, Bobby Hackel IV, Dillon Steuer, Alex Payne, John Willman, JaMike Sowle, Addison Bowman, Ron Holmes, Tim Mayne, Alan Johnson, Brad Poppleton, Ryan Walther, Rocky Warner.

CRSA Sprint Car Feature Finish (20 laps): JORDAN HUTTON, Billy VanInwegen.  Jr., Cory Sparks, Dillon Paddock, Tomy Moreau, Steve Glover, Dalton Herrick, Kyle Pierce, Mike Kiser, John Cunningham, Tyler Chartrand, Blake Warner, Scott Landers, Adam Depuy, Jerry Sehn Jr., Nathan Pierce, Ray Preston, Thomas Radivoy, Randy Years, Alex Adamsky, Aaron Shelton, Dustin Sehn, Kirsten Dombroski, Bobby Parrow.

Did Not Start: Chad Miller

Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): MATT JANCZUK, Payton Talbot, Seth Martin, Ed Lukas, David Dickey, Jeremy Slosek, Willy Decker Jr., Blaine Klinger, Chip Constantino, Mike Richmond, Matthew Richardson, David Hackett Jr., Alex Hughes, Jim Nagle, Stephen Denton, Jim Rothwell, Allan Hodge, Shawn Frost, Josh Amodio, Blake Sarpriacone, Justin Comes, Behr Grover, Joey Buonagurio, Ryan Dolbear, Ed Downing.

Next Generation Graphix Pro Stock Feature Finish (20 laps): BRET BELDEN, Josh Coonradt, A.J. Walters, Jason Morrison, Jim Normoyle, Andy Graves, Tom Denton, Ken Griffin, Johnny Holmes, George Cushman, Mike Kazlauskas, Hunter Keith, Ed Kotary, Gus Gould, Kyle Money, Matt Rose, Jerry Streeter.

Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman (20 laps): ZACK WELCH, Dalton Doyle, E.J. Gallup, Eric Jensen, Johnny Feagles, Aaron Page, Stephen Winsor, Andrew MacFadden, Ernie Staelens, Eric Winsor, Maddy Broedel, Hunter Tarbania, Matt Bukovan, Tyler Bobar, Connor Prokop, Carson Rothwell, Dylan Piersall, Mike Haman, Bobby Newman, Phil Arnold.

Fonda Fair Four Cylinder Feature Finish (12 laps): RUDY KING JR. (DOHC), Corey Valade, Jacob Kimball, Dan Valade, Sophia Denova, Kyle Coley, David Denova, Wayne Russell Jr., Jean Foster, Hank Wedgren, Hank Wedgren Jr.

Algonkin Motel Hard Luck Award: Connor Prokop